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Comcast: Of course we'll fix our billing mistake... for just $25

According to a customer, Comcast double-billed folks who paid via e-bill. When the company realized its mistake, it then charged those same people to reverse the charge.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Cable companies--like cell phone companies--aren't always keen to explain all the little nickels and dimes that they sweetly extract from your account.

There are so many little charges on your bill that their names mesmerize. You know, like the "Oops, We Made A Mistake, But We'll Charge You To Fix It" charge.

You might not have heard of this one, because it might masquerade under the name "payment reversal." At least this is the claim made by one pseudonymous Comcast customer, who noticed a $25 line item that seemed out of line.

Consumerist reports that one of its readers--going by the handle Lattemanifesto--questioned a $25 "return item" charge on her bill. When she called her friendly Comcast representative, she learned that Comcast had accidentally double-charged everyone who took advantage of the company's fine e-billing system.

Lattemanifesto says that Comcast reversed the charge, but then added a different $25 charge for doing so.

The Comcast rep reportedly confirmed that this latest charge was also an error. However, as Lattemanifesto pointed out: "Comcast is not sending out corrected bills or notices. I could not find any mention of it on their website. I guess Comcast will be collecting an extra $25 this month from all the customers who don't notice the mistake."

Sometimes, Comcast can be touchingly lax about how it informs customers that bills have metamorphosed. As a customer myself, I was surprised recently to discover that my bill had gone up.

I was then berated by a Comcast rep who told me that I should have known that my promotional rate had expired and that now the bill had increased.

When I explained that Comcast's billing cycles didn't always reside at the top of my mind, I was told in something of a corrections officer tone: "Everyone knows when their promotional rate is up."

When I mentioned to Comcast's more senior management that this didn't seem quite the way to deal with customers, I was told the company is working on how it communicates rate changes.

I have contacted Comcast to discover the company's side of what might have happened in this case and will update as soon as I have it.

It is sad, though, to think that there might be many who have unwittingly paid for an error that was not theirs.

Updated 4.21pm. Comcast offered me the following statement: "We apologize to any of our customers who received an error on their March billing statement. Our payment processing vendor, Wells Fargo, provided information to Comcast in error which was reflected on the March billing statements received by some customers. We have corrected the error, and we are working with Wells Fargo to ensure that this doesn't happen again. Both Wells Fargo and Comcast sincerely apologize to the affected customers for any inconvenience."